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Walrus Rex

Grand Junction, CO United States
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The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul audiobook cover art

Disappointing sequel

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-28-17

I consider the first Dirk Gently novel to be a minor masterpiece. It is a novel of an apocalypse avoided thanks largely to our titular hero (or whatever he is) and, perhaps unsurprisingly, leads us on a merry chase through English academia, English history, English poetry, and the lore of English poets while also tickling our funnybone. This time around Dirk is more observer than prime mover and the story is seeped more in Nordic than Eng!ish myth and that fairly shallowly. (I'm currently obsessed by Wagner's Ring Cycle and therefore obsessed with Nordic myth and this pales in comparison.) Luckily, the humor (or humour) remains. I simply did not find this plot as clever or as enthralling as the first book.

Another complaint concerns the narrator, the author Douglas Adams. He neither reads the chapter numbers, pauses, nor in any other way indicates that this setting with these characters is ovef and we're now at that setting with those characters. That can create confusion and make it difficult to follow.

I would probably have liked this better if I hadn't li!ed the firsg book so much.

Catch-22 audiobook cover art

Read the true story too

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-17-16

I am writing mainly to recommend The Bridgebusters by Thomas McKelvy Cleaver. It is true story of the bomber wing Catch-22 author Joseph Heller flew in. I was shocked to discover how big the grains of truthin this novel were. I had assumed the plot device of constantly increasing the number of missions was fiction. It was fact. The number of missions was eventually raised to 70. Heller, another officer, and three enlisted men protested so vociferously they were disciplined. The Avignon mission was largely true (although the actual gunner did survive). There is great circumstantial evidence that Heller took the deal that Yossarian initially agreed to then rejected. Heller was excused from missions to act in a propaganda film designed to make his group commander look good. The story of intentionally misdirecting bombs to spare an Italian village is horrifying. This books informs Catch-22 and adds poignancy but does take away from some of the humor.

(I intend no criticism of Heller as a soldier. He did fly 60 combat missions.)

Quantum Night audiobook cover art

I was very disappointed

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-17-16

What disappointed you about Quantum Night?

I have previously read two Sawyer books both of which I very much enjoyed. This book, however, has serious flaws.

First and foremost, it promotes the utilitarian ethics of Peter Singer which proposes that life unworthy should not be allowed to exist. In short, just what Heinrich Himmler believed although Singer and Himmler have somewhat different criteria in determining which life is unworthy. The important similarity is that both Singer and Himmler have taken a good objective look at themselves and have decided that they are of that superior human material that is able to identify subhumans and order their extermination.

Second, our hero is a true believer who abandons his new born son because he is Downs syndrome and abandons his wife because she didn't want to give aforesaid son the chop. Murderers, however, that's another thing. He suffers pangs of conscience that he cannot spare him the death penalty. He has taken his own measure, of course, and determined that he is of that one seventh of species homo sapiens who are truly human and have the duty to decide the fates of the unfortunate six seventh.

Third, the plot is ridiculous. Our hero is forced to act when the American president invades Canada because Canada allows abortion on demand and because the Canucks wouldn't let us build an oil pipeline. I expect this to happen right after Michael Moore becomes the prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet.So if you want to read a book explaining how to make Hitler's favorite apfel strudel then be my guest but if you are offended by self-appointed superior humans ruling the ignorant masses, let this one go by.

I have bought two other Sawyer books that were on my reading list but now I'm not sure I'll read them. I prefer a little less Mein Kampf in my leisure reading.

P.S. For another take on Singer's philosophy, see Dean Koontz' One Door Away From Heaven.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

The Bone Feud audiobook cover art

I assume this is a first effort

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-16

Not as good as I had hoped. There is every Wild West cliche you could imagine, stagecoach robbery, bar fights, Indian fights, gun fights, kidnapped damsels in distress.

I liked it well enough to finish it.

Flashback audiobook cover art

Dystopian Noir

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-14-15

Would you listen to Flashback again? Why?

I would listen again because the form is a murder mystery and now that I know the solution I would like to reread to find the clues.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Flashback?

The solution to the mystery is very dramatic.

Any additional comments?

It is the tone of this book that makes it so good. It is very politically incorrect and presents a believable dystopian future. In fact, this book, originally published in 2011, accurately predicts things that have since happened (although he failed to foresee the dramatic rise of ISIS). Indeed, one prediction came true today, 7/14/15.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A Slight Trick of the Mind audiobook cover art

Not the book you think it is

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-15

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This is a perfectly crommulent book, it's just not the book you probably think it is. If you are expecting a battle of wits between an aging Holmes and an evil archvillian, forget it. Although Holmes does solve a few minor mysteries, this book is about an imperfect though great aging man dealing with loss and regret.

Hitler's Last Days and Hitler's 12 Apostles audiobook cover art
  • Hitler's Last Days and Hitler's 12 Apostles
  • The Nazi Story & World's Most Racist Dictator, Book 3
  • By: Aaron Cohen
  • Narrated by: Glenn Langohr

Lordy, lordy, lordy

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-15

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Although I doubt the author's theory that Hitler and Stalin entered into a pact whereby Hitler was allowed to escape in exchange scientific weapons secrets, the book does reveal some interesting things about those close to Hitler.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

This may well be the worst narrator of all time. One wonders how a narrator of a book about Germans could have been chosen who has absolutely no familiarity with German pronunciation. Worse yet, his English pronunciation is almost as bad (though I believe him.to be a native speaker). He is given to adding syllables, e.g., "financyers" for "financiers". And then there is his fitful stops and starts. Horrible. Just horrible.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy audiobook cover art

Eat suck, suckface!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-31-15

What made the experience of listening to Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy the most enjoyable?

If you're looking for a fun action packed syfy adventure comedy book, you could do worse than Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy by Steven Campbell. Hank is a good natured goon who lives on an obscure space station catering to crooks and other undesirables. He's a mutant who is able to heal himself from practically any trauma so he is the ideal negotiator/errand boy for interaction between the 100 or so crime families and the corrupt government because if you don't like what he has to say you can't just shoot him and make him stop. Although he prefers peaceful conflict resolutions, he's not above shooting people who need shooting always insulting them first with, "Eat suck, suckface!" Well, all of that is well and good until a couple of hostile alien robots come to town . . .

There are at least two sequels, Basketful of Crap and Prince of Suck, which I haven't read yet.

The Axeman's Jazz audiobook cover art

Good first effort

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-19-15

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Axeman's Jazz?

Semi- spoiler alert. The author used a technique I quite liked. There are three separate groups who try to solve the murders for three separate reasons following three separate leads. All discover the "trurh" but each discovers only a part of the truth. It is only the reader who knows it all.

It should be stated that the author takes considerable poetic license with the truth.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

This must have been a challenge considering the polyglot nature of New Orleans and the characters. Still some things were jarring. For example, the reader pronounces "penchant", a perfectly cromulent English word as if it were French and pronounces "sangfroid", a common French term, as "sang freud". Some of the voicing of the female characters is a tad too precious as well.

Any additional comments?

Louis Armstrong is one of the characters which caused me to buy a couple albums from back when, you know, music sounded good.

The Strings of Murder audiobook cover art

Devil Music

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-27-15

What made the experience of listening to The Strings of Murder the most enjoyable?

I have been bingeing on late Victorian murder mysteries lately. This weeks example is Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel. This story concerns disgraced young aristocratic investigator Ian Frey who is assigned to semi-barbarian Edinburgh to investigate the politically sensitive murder of a violin virtuoso. Frey is a bit of an a-hole of the snob variety given to snide comments. He is assigned to work not only with but under Inspector McGray, also an a-hole but of the thug variety given to responding to perceived insults with physical assaults. Worse, McGray is the head of an X Files like department and the clear demonic signs of the instant murder allow him free reign to his superstition, much to the annoyance of Frey. I was a music major as an undergrad and one thing that attracted me to this book is the musical connection. It seems a cursed violin may be responsible for a number of grisly death, the very violin that that Tartini (in real life) used to compose, or more accurately, to transcribe the Devil's Trill Sonata composed by the Devil himself in Tartini's dream and then owned by Paganini who (in real life) was alleged to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his virtuosity. Together they work to solve a grisly locked room murder.

What three words best describe Andy Secombe’s voice?

A little heavy on the Scottish accent, made it a little difficult to understand for a hick from the sticks such as yours truly.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful